Zólyomlipcse (Slovenská Ľupča, Slowakisch Liptsch) is in the Upper Lands/Horná zem/Felföld, in Slovakia. It is 10 km from Besztercebánya (Banska Bystrica) to the northeast, on the bank of the Garam river.
It was first mentioned in 1250 as Lypcsa because an important trade route crossed it. Later, it was mentioned as “Lyppcha” (1255), “Lipche” (1263), “Lypsche” (1272), then as “Lypche Solienses” in 1361. It appeared as “Lypcz Sclavonicalis” in 1516, and as “Thotlypcha” in 1524.
The old settlement developed at two locations, around the castle, and around the Franciscan monastery. The inhabitants made the living from agriculture, and from rearing bees, and fishing. Also, Zólyomlipcse was an important mining town, King Károly Róbert gifted its privileges in 1340. The inhabitants were free to elect their priests and judges and were allowed to hold markets and didn’t have to pay tolls. The major income of the city came from the craftsmen in the 14th century, and from the markets. We know about the existence of a lyceum, too.
The castle was built in the 13th century but it was Master Dancs who shaped its present form in the 14th century. The castle was a center of a region, and several settlements belonged to it. The great landlord Máté Csák seized Zólyomlipcse in 1306 but the Dancs family got it back in 1314.
The Paulinian monastery was built in 1313 and it used to be the headquarters of the Hungarian Zólyom County during the Middle Ages. The monastery has a Gothic church, mentioned first in 1323. Both burned down in 1605 but they were rebuilt in 1615 in Renaissance style.
The Bohemian Hussite warlord, Giskra, took it in 1440 but King Matthias Corvinus was able to drive him out. Matthias liked to stay there, and there is a linden tree in the town which used to be the tree of King Matthias Corvinus, according to the local legend. Later, the Austrian Kristóf Turn took the castle by force in 1531.
The Ottoman attacks and the plagues decimated the population of the Upper Valley of the Garam river during the 16th-17th century. The plague killed 700 people in 1679. The town was owned by the Hungarian kings and later by the queens, until the 16th century. Later, the Mining Chamber owned it until the end of the 18th century. We know that between 1672 and 1848 the Dóczy, the Rubigallus, the Tribel, and the Széchy and Wesselényi families were its owners when the ruler pledged the town and castle from time to time.
The old city council was built in 1659. There was a flourishing trade life in the town during the second part of the 17th century, the products of the local burghers were sold all over the area. Many guilds were established, the most famous ones were the coach-builders, the cobblers, and the knife makers. the first paper maker workshop appeared in 1697, their products were famous until 1920 all over Hungary.
The castle has always been in use and in good care. There is a very deep well in it and a dry mill. There is a room in it where we can read this text: “Maria Regina 1531”. There is another text from 1605 which lists the names of those who fell during the defense of the castle: Sirok György, Gracz Mátyás, Jiszkra János, Schmicz János, Laky János. (Please, note that I use the Oriental name order for Hungarians where family names come first.) Zólyomlipcse was the place where Palatine Wesselényi Ferenc died on 27 March 1667 so he could not be executed for his conspiration against the Habsburgs. Now, there is an elderly home in the castle.
Here is a nice video about Zólyomlipcse:
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Here are more pictures of Zólyomlipcse: